Heliopolis: City Of The Sun

Californian proggers impress with sunny, celebratory debut.

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Although this is their debut as Heliopolis, the contributing musicians aren’t new to this prog lark.

Born from the ashes of LA-based Mars Hollow, and featuring musicians who’ve played with Ten Jinn and Genesis tribute band Gabble Ratchet, the band collect contrasting talents serving a shared vision of ambitious, forward-looking and optimistic music-making. City Of The Sun totals a manageable 45 minutes, even though it’s split between just five tracks. The vibe is established immediately with opener New Frontier, and within the 14 minutes of Love And Inspiration. It’s heavy on the symphonic prog, with hefty Yes and Transatlantic elements especially prominent, with the merest hint of classic Genesis and King Crimson. Drums are particularly notable, with guitar and keyboard flying in and out of the mix. Vocalist Scott Jones impresses with a voice that captures the spirit of both Jon Anderson and Geddy Lee, without quite sounding like either. Listeners are exhorted to ‘Join us in this adventure’, and peace, love, understanding and harmony are consistent thematic threads. Odd-meter instrumental Mr Wishbone adds depth to this welcome entry in the symphonic canon.